BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire’s scoreless draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night at Toyota Park boiled down to missed opportunities.
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
Chicago enjoyed possession, their defense was airtight, and their goalkeeping was excellent. However, as they have so many times in this young season, the Fire struggled in front of goal, failing to finish three absolutely golden chances.
And once again, the Fire paid the price for their poor finishing, taking a lone point from the expansion Whitecaps and extending their winless streak to six games.
“It’s just upsetting,” Fire midfielder Corben Bone said after the match. “You work hard the whole game to get those chances and they end up not going in the net. It’s just frustrating.”
The Fire’s three best chances came in a 30-minute window in the first half. The first opportunity was in the 18th minute. Chicago broke up a Vancouver attack and launched a blistering counter, with winger Dominic Oduro eventually crossing to unmarked forward Diego Chaves at the penalty spot. Chaves couldn’t quite corral the ball though, taking a heavy touch that allowed Vancouver defender Alain Rochat to recover and make a saving slide tackle.
“I just took too long to shoot,” Chaves said. “I had space but the guy just made a great tackle on me.”
The next blown chance came in the 32nd minute. Bone played Oduro behind the Whitecaps’ back four with a lovely long ball. The Ghanaian winger collected the pass and darted into the box, sprinting past one defender and sidestepping another to free himself for a shot. But, with all the hard work done, Oduro couldn’t convert, sailing his close-range shot over the crossbar and out of play.
The third near-miss came one minute before halftime. Chaves was the perpetrator for a second time, spoiling some splendid buildup from Oduro and winger Marco Pappa by hitting his one-on-one chance with Vancouver ‘keeper Jay Nolly off the far post.
“Sometimes the ball is [like] a bratty girl,” Chaves said when asked about the chance. "When she doesn’t want to go in, it’s finished.”
WATCH: Chaves rattles the post
The Fire slowed down a bit in the second half and didn’t produce any high quality chances for the rest of the match. Whether that was due to tired legs, Vancouver playing farther back, or just a general dip in quality doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the Fire dropped two points at home – a trap they can’t afford to fall into if they want to return to the playoffs this year.
“We’re disappointed because we couldn’t get the points,” Fire defender Gonzalo Segares told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “We were pretty close but we have to finish, and we couldn’t today. This is a tough one to swallow.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.